Whisper Day 1: Brother Saul

Ananias baptizing St. Paul, a statue outside Ananias' house in Damascus. Photo by Mark Mina Doss.

The Power of a Whisper Reading Plan
Day 1 Reading: Acts 9:1-19

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 9:17 (NRSV)

This passage is often referred to as the conversion of Saul. Saul is a powerful Pharisee who’s been given a license to hunt and kill followers of Jesus. Saul thinks he’s serving God by defending the Jewish faith and power structure. He’s on his way to the next town when ZAP! God turns Saul’s world upside down, literally knocking him to the ground and blinding him. In three short days Saul will arise a changed man; a man who will spend the rest of his life serving God by defending and spreading Christianity.

What’s often overlooked is the second conversion story in this passage. Saul the Persecutor to Paul the Apostle is dramatic. It’s a go-to text for sermons and Sunday School alike. Yet Ananias’ conversion is equally profound. God comes less dramatically to Ananias but the message is equally radical, equally turn your world upside down: mentor your lethal enemy. Ananias is justified in his concern. Meeting Saul is a death sentence. God assures Ananias and he chooses to step out in faith.

Ananias enters his enemy’s room and the first words out of his mouth are remarkable, “Brother Saul.” Ananias is a changed man, as changed as Saul. God has been working in both men’s lives at the same time and now their lives intersect in a spectacular moment of redemption. Ananias’ words and actions show his attitude has been transformed from grave concern to acceptance. He accepts God’s call to action and in turn accepts his enemy into his circle of trust. Ananais’ acceptance paves the way for Saul/Paul to be accepted into the Christian community that fears him, and to eventually be accepted as a leader in that community.

He who learns teaches, he who teaches learns.
– African proverb

Listening and responding to God’s whispers brings transformation and new life, for us and for others.

Redeeming and Gracious God, thank you for your transforming love. You are always at work for our good and for the good of others. Help me to listen and respond with courage and faith, as Ananias did. I want to join you in your saving work. I want to do your will. Make the needed changes in me that you are already making in others. Bring us together to love you and trust you and serve you in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

For more information on the Power of a Whisper campaign or for a copy of this reading plan, click here

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you learn to better listen and respond to God’s whispers in your life. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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